Day Four, Calexico to Yuma, AZ

Today absolutely sucked so bad it was awesome to just complete it. Long sustained up hill and rain rain rain. Then it kept raining. Did I mention it rained? Decent shoulder on the roads except in spots that were scary. Big trucks, rain and no shoulder to ride on was part of the rough day. You are probably thinking no shoulder to cry on. Quit whining and ride. We had no choice so we peddled on. Rain gear held up and didn’t keep us dry (nothing would) but the combination of peddling and the rain gear we were reasonably warm. That made it tolerable. After 4 plus hours of rain it seemed to let up. Sun came out, clouds broke up so now we were hot and sagged the rain gear at the sag station meaning they took it only to be seen that night at camp or in this case an armory. We had lunch at a place some guy declared the Center of the World and put up a huge monument the size of a football field to declare such. I guess if you live in the middle of nowhere a positive way to deal with that is to declare it the Center of the World. Same thing, different spin. The roads today were super rough as the asphalt gets hot and expands and contracts over time cracking up into honeycombs then all the cracks expand upward making the roads extremely bumpy. Since we were on shoulders and less traveled roads where maintenance wasn’t a priority we got shook up pretty bad for a good part of the day. Luckily that wasn’t during the rainy part of the day. We were good for a couple hours then the clouds regathered and dumped hard rain. Even though it was mid to late afternoon it got dark because the clouds got serious. Since they don’t get big rain storms that often in Arizona they don’t really prepare that well so the roads began flooding. It’s also an agricultural mecca so there are constant big trucks driving in and out of the fields harvesting and doing all they do. This turned the roads into muddy messes forcing us to mingle with the cars and trucks in the dark. We got splashed so much we quit feeling it. I remember seeing a truck just flood splash the cyclists in front of us saying to Becky that sucked while we both realized we were getting it just as bad. As the day went on we were cold without proper gear and still not close to our destination. We stopped to look at our soggy unreadable map to figure out were we were and needed to go. Did I mention it was pouring rain. Just then Rick Ski from our group came up. He said he knew the way so we got behind him and followed him threw the dark, super busy traffic, muddy, flooding road to the Armory. We were so happy to see that Armory. We thanked Rick Ski the rest of the trip as our hero of that day. We were on the right track but it was awesome to not be alone through all that crap with people honking at us and the cars that were veering into oncoming traffic avoiding us and have the confidence of a steady rider in front of us to get there together. I will always be grateful to Rick Ski.

Follow our Coast 2 Coast Journey

We are so excited to blog, IG (lookupmoveforward), FB (Becky Andrews, Resilient Vision) our journey from Coast 2 Coast on our tandem!

I’m reflecting on how this tandem activity started when I lost my eyesight and could no longer ride a single bike. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade!!

Our Moments of Shift

I’ve been reflecting on some key moments of shift for me. You know that time when someone said you couldn’t do it and you said .. wait a minute, I think I can!! When we stop and make that shift for ourselves it becomes empowering.

I write about a couple of these moments in my book: Look up, move forward. I share an experience where I was challenged if  I could be a social worker. The Department head had questioned my abilities due to my eyesight. “By the time I got on the bus, though, my confidence had rebounded enough to reimagine the interview. In the new version, when I fumbled for the chair, I asked for assistance without apology. My answers to his questions were concise and decide. I cowered less, and asserted more, assuring him that I was ready for the coursework, that I understood the rigors of graduate school, and that i knew I could be an effective counselor.”

“But being rejected galvanized my desire to become a counselor. I knew this was what I wanted to do. I couldn’t give up but the path of least resistance had been blocked.”

Years later, I can appreciate this moment of shift.  I recognized that I didn’t need to believe his negative assertion about me and my capabilities.  As clients come into my office and I briefly share with them, I am blind – that’s my guide dog in the corner and we move forward with what brought them to counseling, I think how little this matters that I don’t see their face.

As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better. — Steve Maraboli

Look up, Move Forward

Oh, It’s fun to start blogging again.  Looking forward to sharing my thoughts about life as a therapist – author – speaker – woman who is gaining vision and insight while losing eyesight to retinitis pigmentosa. 

Why the name? Look Up, Move Forward?  It’s a mantra that I believe we continue to do in life as we navigate life’s challenges and joys. Here’s the story behind it (also the title of my first book: Look Up, Move Forward — my journey of finding my vision while losing my eyesight.  

The story goes as follows: 

After a busy morning at work, cricket my guide dog and I stepped out of the office for a walk. We had just got our stride when my cell phone rang. The call was from one of my colleagues and so I picked it up. My colleague was going through a difficult time. She needed to talk and I was happy to listen, hoping I could support her in some way that would help. I slowed down as we talked and cricket sensed that I was preoccupied. She slowed down too and then got distracted herself, sniffing along the edge of the sidewalk.  Hoping I could redirect her without interrupting my friend I whispered “cricket hop up. Move forward.”

My friend said, Becky what did you say? 

“ Oh sorry, cricket was just off focus. I told her to “hop Up and Move Forward.”  I thought you said “Look Up, Move Forward.” My friend Melanie said. That’s exactly what I need to hear.”  She heard a gift in my instruction to cricket a bit of wisdom that has stuck with both of us. Cricket gets all the credit for the insight that day and for teaching me a lesson I treasure. 

So often were encouraged to just move forward during difficult times or press on through challenging circumstances. The frequently prescribed remedy is to get moving again or to keep moving through pain. Obviously I believe in movement – I love movement. Moving forward does play a role in healing. But just like I asked cricket to “hop up” or “look up” first real progress requires a period of refocus, a sort of pause in our lives. 

For me looking up is often seeking spiritual help, but it can also be taking a moment to look for silver linings, or to bask in gratitude for the silver lining, or to bask in gratitude for the beauty in my life. It’s the quiet moment of contemplation or the consideration of my values and how to incorporate them into the challenge. When I take that moment to refocus and reflect on my motivation and desires, I feel the strength to move forward with purpose and determination. Then moving forward really does make sense.

Share your thoughts on Look Up, Move Forward.


Becky Andrews, LCMHC